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The question

My wife always pours wine for herself by holding the glass in her left hand and tilting the bottle into it with her right, often making a clinking sound when it touches the rim. Tacky, right?

The answer

I suppose it might be considered tacky if you were expecting the Queen or Martha Stewart to dinner. If, on the other hand, you’re home alone, I’d cut her some slack in the wine-etiquette department.

To be strict about it, your wife’s technique probably would not score top marks in a sommelier’s exam. First, she appears to be pouring with the bottle roughly parallel to her shoulders, which I think of as “beer-style.” That’s where you clasp a single-serve bottle and tip it into a tilted glass or mug, holding both arms out at about the same distance from your chest. I wouldn’t call it gauche, but it probably does not cut the most graceful line when you’re pouring from a larger, communal 750-millilitre bottle.

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Generally speaking, you want to pour at an angle away from yourself, as in when the glass is farther away from you than the bottle, as in when a waiter reaches over to fill your glass. That way, if for no other reason, you can more easily twist the bottle as you lift it away from the glass after pouring, thus minimizing the inevitable dribble of liquid down the neck. I think one could argue that it looks more suave to do this than to pour beer-style.

But the more clear-cut no-no is the clinking sound. Egad! In “proper” wine service, the bottle never touches stemware; it hovers over the rim as you pour, very carefully. The only clinking sound permitted is the sound of two glasses coming together in a celebratory toast.

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